This spring we’re asking you to help us set our priorities when you donate to the GNOME Foundation. You have the option of asking us to focus on building GNOME in Africa or WebKitGTK development.

We want GNOME to be for everyone, regardless of where they come from. To achieve that, we work with contributors from all over the world. The GNOME community in Africa has grown significantly throughout 2019, and we’re excited to help them continue that growth!

Sigu Migwa and StellaMaris Njage spoke at GUADEC 2019 about growing a GNOME community in their home country of Kenya, and the challenges they have to think about. This was the first time many of us learned about what people are doing with GNOME in any African context and this talk brought up concerns we hadn’t considered. However, many of these issues are the same faced by every community looking to grow. While free software is by no means new to Africa, the GNOME community wants to do more in that area.

At the Open Source Source Festival in Lagos, Nigeria, Regina Nkemchor Adejo spoke about desktop applications using GNOME, targeting the experience specifically for the African user.

2020 also brought the launch of the Pan African GNOME Summit, which was postponed due to COVID-19. However, the team is still working on the event and plans to proceed with it when possible.

We want to celebrate what happened in 2019 and so far in 2020, but we know it’s not enough and that we can do more to grow a GNOME community across Africa. A vote to support GNOME in Africa is a vote for building more initiatives across the African continent. Examples of possible activities include:

  • travel sponsorships to bring people from Africa to GNOME events;
  • assisting in the organization of events in Africa, including hackfests and conferences;
  • university outreach targeted at African universities; or
  • translations specifically for African languages.

The most important thing for us is working with GNOME contributors and members who are already in Africa to bring the GNOME software, project, and community to them in the ways that work for their local communities, and to support their leadership in the best ways we can.